Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
(Psalm 95:6-7 NIV)
Every time I try to read through Job’s story I get distracted about the time his first friend starts talking. I get lost in the explanations. So, I skim the next 30 or so chapters until I get to the part where Elihu speaks up. He’s a young man who had kept silent while Job and his three friends debated the philosophical and moral dilemma of being. Elihu is angry because each of the other speakers have misrepresented the situation.
Job listens. God listens. Elihu rages a storm of words, and when he is finished, God speaks.
It says that God speaks out of the storm. I wonder if while Elihu rants that thunder rumbles in the distance coming closer as he articulates his point. Or did the narrator just mean Elihu’s words were like a storm? Either way it makes for great drama. I like to think it continues to storm while God speaks to Job, lightening with torrential rain.
God asks the questioner questions. Point after point, rhetorically pummeling Job, who has been accusing and calling God to account. God, his Maker, recounts the intricacies of his creative process. I wonder whether Job was standing while Elihu made his speech. Did he fall on his knees when God spoke?
We do know that when God finishes speaking, Job really has nothing more to say. He puts his hand over his mouth. And after a few moments, he admits that he really didn’t know what he was talking about after all.
I imagine Job replying with tears streaming down his face, bowing his head in wonder:
“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You ask, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I. And I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me.
“You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’
“I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:2-6 NLT)
Job no longer sits in dust mourning, now he sits comforted. Godly sorrow leads to repentance ushering in a salvation drenched joy. Relief. Release. No regrets. Ah, a happy ending.